Our 2014 {Simple} Summer Bucket List

2014 Simple Summer Bucket List

For the past 3 years, I’ve created a new list of 101 summer activities each year to help inspire your summer plans. While I love being inspired by the ideas on those lists, I figure 303 ideas is enough for you to choose from without me scouring Pinterest for another whole new set this year!

Instead, I’m sharing our simple summer bucket list.

Summer for us actually looks a lot like the rest of the year. We school year round, and I continue to work during the summer, so those form the backbone of our weekly schedule.

However, we’re much more lax about bedtime, and the girls spend many evenings playing outside until dark. We also barbecue, get together at the park with friends, head up the road for an ice cream cone and travel a bit more. Our goal is to make summer a “quietly magical” time, where life continues to march along but we add special traditions and memories as well.

With that in mind, here is our 2014 summer bucket list:

1. Read together.

I have a love-hate relationship with read-alouds. I could happily read picture books all day every day to my littles, but I have a harder time reading chapter books with the big girls. This summer we’re reading The Borrowers, and I’d love to read through the whole series during the course of the summer. And there will still be plenty of picture books for the little ones as well!

{Also, I’m hoping to add 1 or 2 “fairy” doors around the house as we scoot out for our trip to Florida in a couple of weeks so that the girls will think Borrowers have moved in while we’re traveling!}

2. Catch lightning bugs.

On summer nights, our yard and the surrounding field literally light up with thousands of lightning bugs, blinking like camera flashes in a packed stadium.

One year when the girls were tiny, we excitedly rushed upstairs to wake them up and show them the lightning bugs, and they all slept right through our best attempts. Thankfully they’re old enough now to catch lightning bugs at dusk and then stay up until it’s dark enough to see the full show!

3. Make frozen fruit kebabs.

Most snacks around here consist of some type of fruit, and our favorite preparation in the summer is to thread grapes, berries or other chunks of fruit onto a kebab stick and then freeze them. This is especially fun now that the girls can do it themselves, and I foresee a lot of fruit kebabs this summer!

4. Forage in our yard.

Our girls are enthusiastic foragers, and we’re crossing our fingers that this will be a good year for our dewberry patch. We also recently learned that the invasive trees dotting our landscape are autumn olives, known for their delicious fall berries, so we’re counting the days until we can harvest those. I love when the girls start gathering wild garlic, carrots, dandelions and day lilies for us to incorporate into our meals, and I’m hoping to find a local foraging class so we can discover what other secrets our area holds.

5. Learn to sew.

I can operate my sewing machine and have made a few things here and there, but I’m not an accomplished seamstress by any means. However, my big girls have been begging for more than a year to learn to sew, and I want to make that a priority this summer.

Nicole just released her Sewing School 101 ebook, and I think we’ll work through that together since she outlines the basics and offers projects that increase in difficulty.

6. Weekly library trips.

Sean has been taking the girls on library dates (with a stop for an ice cream cone on the way!) for the past year, but it took us a while to get really consistent about it. Other than our Florida trip, we’ll be home for most of the summer, which will give us a chance to continue with these weekly throughout the summer. There’s so much to love about this tradition: one-on-one time with dad, regular visits to the library and new stacks of books every week!

7. Make homemade ice cream.

I’ve had a hard time motivating myself to make ice cream since I can’t eat it while I’m nursing, but I want to taste test my way through the recipes in Marillyn’s Just Making Ice Cream ebook this summer. She offers tips for making many of her recipes dairy free, so hopefully there will be plenty for me to enjoy!

8. Visit children’s museums.

Because of the size of our family, going to our local children’s museum can be fairly expensive. When we realized that our museum offers reciprocal memberships with other members of the Association of Science-Technology Centers, we knew that offered a much better value for our family…assuming we actually use it!

Thankfully, there are several science museums (and even an aquarium!) near my mom in Florida, so we’ll get plenty of use out of the membership right off the bat, and then we can spend the rest of the summer visiting other semi-local museums as well as our own.

9. Make tutus.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’m working with Tanna Clark at Grace & Glory, a charity on a mission to Fight Hunger, Encourage Play and Give Hope to Children in Need of a Brighter Tomorrow.  I’ve also been on the hunt for opportunities for our family to serve the community together.

This summer, I’ll be helping Tanna launch an Etsy store and online shop to sell tutus and capes to support the work Grace & Glory is doing, and we’re going to be working on that as a family. While the girls won’t be able to make the tutus we’re selling just yet, they can help with tagging, inventory, packaging, shipping, etc.

10. Play dates with friends.

In 2014, we’ve done a pretty good job about meeting friends for field trips, play dates, coffee and more (as part of my one word for the year {LIVE}), and I hope that our summer will include lots more of those!

What’s on your summer bucket list?

Mandi Ehman is the blogger behind Life Your Way. She and her husband have four beautiful girls plus one baby boy, and together they live, work and homeschool on a little slice of heaven in wild, wonderful West Virginia. Mandi loves coffee, chocolate, easy meals, beautiful things and minimalist spaces.
  • http://myoverflowingcup.com Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    I love the simplicity of this bucket list. The idea of the “fairy” doors is just adorable! I’m sure your girls will love that!

  • Cyndy

    I love the simplicity of you summer list! Thank you so much for sharing. Also, have you tried banana “ice cream”. I can’t have dairy either, so we make “ice cream” out of frozen bananas. You basically just blend them until the bananas are the consistency of ice cream and add toppings (sprinkles, chocolate chips, etc). I love adding Nutella to mine! ;-)

    • http://lifeyourway.net/ Mandi @ Life Your Way

      Yes, Cyndy — you’re right; it IS amazing!! I’ve heard you can do it with any frozen fruit too!

  • Anne Bogel

    Love this list! Especially the frozen fruit kebabs (never done it, definitely trying it. Like, TODAY.) And foraging in your own yard. Happy summer!